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OM 1N for street: wide angles, flash and film

  1. demonboy
    Hi all,

    I'm a new OM 1N owner. So new, in fact, I haven't yet received it from the seller! I have it on good authority it is in mint condition. I had posted a couple of questions on some other forums but I read through this one and figured I may get the answers I'm looking for. Looks like a good place to hang out.

    I shoot street with an OM-D and a few primes. My weapons of choice are the 28mm and 40mm equivalent and I almost always use a flash. The flash unit is an FL 600R. I zone focus and tend to shoot anything between f/11 and f/16, and often slow-sync/2nd-curtain the flash at anything between 100thsec to 0.5sec. I often use a TTL cable and occasionally a wireless set-up that isn't TTL.

    I never shot flash with my old film camera so film and flash is new to me, especially on a camera dating back 30-odd years. Please excuse my ignorance but some help with these questions would be gratefully received. Bear in mind this foray into film is supposed to be budget-sensitive, so unless I sell my OM-D kit I can't afford top of the line stuff at the moment.

    Flash
    My main concern with the flash is that I don't want to end up with a massive bit of kit sitting on top of the camera. I want to be carrying as little gear as possible.
    1. Since I only need to light up a face and close background detail, what discrete flash should I consider?
    2. Can I use my current flash? What about the TTL cable and the wireless triggers?
    3. Will it be a little big for it?
    4. What TTL features work on the OM-1N, if any, or will have I have to manually set everything?

    Wide-angle Lens Options
    The camera comes with the 50mm f/1.8, which is fine since that's what I used to shoot with my Canon 5Dii. I quite like the focal length but I do now prefer something wider
    1. I had my eye on a 35mm f/2.8 but read that it's not all that. This focal length would be a great compromise for me and since I shoot closed down I figured the softness when wide open wouldn't be an issue for me. Any comments on this?
    2. The 40mm f/2 looks like a peach. It's a bit expensive though! Are there any other non-legacy 40mm lenses I should consider? The more pancake, the better.
    3. Since I like 28mm too, how do the OM 28mm options fare? Any non-legacy ones worth a look?

    Film
    I am currently based in Langkawi, Malaysia. Getting hold of decent film is not going to be easy, even via internet delivery.
    1. What is the real difference between standard Fuji/Kodak film I'll be able to pick up in the print labs here, and the decent film like Portra 400 etc? Am I really going to be pining for the good stuff or will cheap film do?
    2. If I am shooting f/16 at 30th sec with a flash in semi-dark conditions (say outside a shopping mall in the dark with street lights), what colour film should I be using in terms of ASA/ISO? I know photographers talk about 'pushing' their film (Portra 400 shot with the camera set to ASA 1600). Anyone have experience with this kind of experimentation with the OM 1N? Any tips when shooting with flash?

    Finally, what's the general consensus on the battery issue? Is getting the MR-9 adapter worth it? I can see myself completely ignoring the light meter altogether and teaching myself how to work out the settings instinctively... after making many mistakes, of course!

    Sorry for all the questions. I look forward to any pointers on any of the above.
  2. wblynch
    wblynch
    Welcome.

    First of all, the OM-1 is all manual with no TTL features for flash at all. The only thing you get is a flash trigger signal either through the flash shoe attachment of the PC port. You do get the choice of setting Focal Plane or "X". The FP is for flash bulbs as it triggers on release of the first shutter curtain. This is because flash bulbs are slow. "X" is for electronic flash and it triggers when the first curtain hits the open stop. This is because electronic flash is very fast. So, there is some flexibility there but you should stick with "X".

    So any automatic flash capabilities will have to be controlled by the flash unit.

    In the olden days, I used an off-camera Vivitar 283 with a remote sensor on the flash shoe. It worked really well. For on camera I used to use a little one-battery Sunpak but any light weight flash will work. Just don't get a big flash on there or you can crack your flash shoe.
  3. Jon202
    Jon202
    Try this website http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~rwe...sif/om-sif.htm - should answer most of your questions
  4. mopar_guy
    mopar_guy
    Welcome,

    A few things will need some clarification. The OM-1N is a capable camera, but if you are used to using any DSLR, a manual camera such as the OM-1N will require you to learn some different techniques. There are no electronics in any OM-1, so you will not have any way to use TTL flash. For OM System cameras, the TTL flash capability is controlled by the camera's "electronic brain" and the OM-1 doesn't have an electronic brain.

    The OM-1N has three basic flash options:

    1) Normal Auto Mode using a T series or comparable electronic flash. In Normal Auto mode, you set the exposure on the cameras shutter speed and aperture settings. You also have to set up some basic parameters on the flash controls. During exposure, the flash has a light sensor and the flash will cut itself off when the expected amount of light hits the sensor.

    2) Manual Mode using a Manual capable electronic flash. In my opinion, this is your best option for this camera. In this mode, you set a power level manually using the control panel on the flash. For all electronic flash, the maximum sync speed on the camera's shutter is 1/60th second or slower. Also any flash mounted on the camera's hot shoe will use x-sync regardless of the setting of the "FP-X" switch at the PC socket. If your camera does not have a hot shoe attached, you will need to get a Shoe 4 to use on camera flash. For OM System flashes, the T-20 is the lightest and it would be fine to use for the stated application. Keep in mind that the T-20 has a coverage angle equal to a 35mm lens.

    3) The OM-1N can utilize Focal Plane Flash Bulbs if the flash is connected to the PC socket and the switch is set to "FP" and you can use all shutter speeds on the camera although the recommended range is 1/60th second or faster. I have done this using an old Graflex flash bracket that attaches to the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera and a Graflite with a 5 inch reflector. You can connect this setup to the PC socket on the camera and select "FP" sync. Also make sure that you have some GE or Westinghouse #6 or Sylvania FP 26 bulbs.

    For lenses with a moderate wide angle, here's my $.02:
    1) I like Olympus lenses. You have two affordable options, 35mm f2.8 and 28mm f2.8/3.5. If it was me, I would find a 28mm f2.8 Zuiko. They are a great wide angle option. Remember that there is no Automatic focusing, and it might be a little hard to get used to in low light. If money is less of an option, there are some other Olympus lenses that would be great too but I won't get into that unless you are interested. The 40mm f2.0 Zuiko was a great lens in a small package, but there were probably less than 10,000 produced and that make it slightly rare. You probably won't find a really cheap one.

    2) If you don't mind third party lenses, Vivitar and Tokina both made 28mm lenses in OM mount. Another option would be a zoom like a 28-70. I have a Tokina 28-70mm SZ-X that I have owned for over 25 years and I like it although I almost exclusively use Prime lenses now. At the wide end, it is f2.8.

    If I wanted to have an OM-1N to use, I would send it off to be overhauled. The light seals are probably shot and the prisms on a lot of them have the "foam rot" problem. Also the lubricants are probably gunked up and the flash sync may not be reliable. Most reputable repair shops will convert the meter circuit to use 1.5 volt batteries.

    Dave
  5. wblynch
    wblynch
    All fresh color film is great. Use whatever you can get within your budget. Keep in mind though that it doesn't hold up well in hot, humid climates so if it has been on a store shelf too long don't buy it. Check the expiration date on the package.
  6. demonboy
    demonboy
    Thank you all for the replies.

    Cheers, Dave, for the comprehensive response. Yes, the 40mm is rather expensive on ebay. There is only one, currently. I noticed the 28mm f/3.5 is considerably cheaper than the 2.8 and 2. Since I tend to zone-focus at anything from f/8 to f/16 I wonder if this will be just as good for me. Aside from being able to use the 2.8 in lower light, is it a better lens than the 3.5?
  7. mopar_guy
    mopar_guy
    If I remember this correctly, all of the 28mm f3.5 Zuikos are single-coated and all of the 28mm f2.8 Zuikos are multi-coated. You would probably not be able to see the difference in photos taken with either lens. The f2.8 version should be slightly brighter while focusing.

    There is a 28mm f2.8 Zuiko for sale on eBay this morning for $14.50 and no bidders.

    Dave
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